Shanghai Escape

Shanghai Escape


By Kathy Kacer


Shanghai, China is a strange place for a young Jewish girl from Vienna...

But that is where Lily Toufar finds herself in 1938. She and her family have left their home to find safety far away from Europe, where Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party are making life unbearable for Jews. They’ve had to travel fast – Lily even had to leave behind most of her toys and books – but here she feels free from danger.

Despite their hopes, it quickly turns out that all is not safe in Shanghai. Now that the area is controlled by Japan, whose leaders support Hitler, the local government orders Jewish refugees, including Lily and her family, to move into a ghetto in an area of the city called Hongkew. Once again Lily wonders what will happen next.

Life changes for Lily and her family when they are forced to the over-crowded ghetto. There is little food to eat, and many people become sick. Lily remains hopeful, but when rumors begin to circulate that Jews may be in as much danger here as they were in Europe, she wonders if she will ever feel truly safe and at home again. Based on a true story. 

A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers

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About the Author

Kathy Kacer’s books have won a number of awards, including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack, and the Jewish Book Award. A former psychologist, Kathy now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Kathy lives in Toronto with her family.

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Product Information

  • Release: October 14, 2013

  • $14.95 Paperback

  • 240 Pages

  • 6.5 x 8

  • Juvenile Nonfiction

  • Ages 9-13 / Grades 6-8

  • Guided Reading: X

  • ISBN: 9781927583104


  • Holocaust Studies

  • History / Social Studies
    > War and Conflict
    > Global Cultures

  • Character Education
    > Prejudice and Tolerance


Awards for Shanghai Escape

  • 2013 National Jewish Book Awards Finalist

Praise for Shanghai Escape

"A good and different addition to Holocaust literature." - School Library Journal

"Kacer writes from the child's perspective, which is often one of innocence and confusion, and allows us as readers to feel empathy for the children whose stories she shares. ... I hope teachers from the junior grades to high school are using Kacer's books to support the history curriculum as they teach about the Holocaust and World War II. These are important stories to be shared and never forgotten." - Canadian Children's Book News

"Kathy Kacer has received many awards and award nominations for her previous books, and this, her eighth book in the “Holocaust Remembrance Series,” furthers her personal mandate to bring awareness of the injustices of this part of world history to young people. Its readability factor, insights, emotions and characterization make Shanghai Escape a magnetic book for readers aged nine to thirteen, as well as a great resource for Holocaust and Remembrance Day studies." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Lovingly researched...Author Kathy Kacer uses the true story of Lily Toufar to show us what daily life was like as Jew in China as she endured poverty, starvation, and cruelty. We empathize with Lily and her extended family as we grow to love and respect their courage." - Historical Novel Society

"Once again Kacer brings us into this turbulent time in history though the eyes of a child who was caught up in the horror and once again she does it with a finesse that portrays the suffering and pain without making it too graphic for young readers. This book would be another great addition to school and public libraries and a great supplement to social studies programs that focus on World War II and the Holocaust." - Resource Links

"What is remarkable about this book is that through a young child’s eyes, the history and aura of Shanghai become immediate. The child-reader, identifying with Lily, will gain an understanding of the trials experienced by Lily’s and other Jewish families when they are ordered out of French Town to a filthy, shabby ghetto....The decision regarding when to introduce Holocaust literature to younger children has been debated for years, but Kathy Kacer makes it plausible to introduce it to readers from grade 3, using her excellent 'A Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers.' " - Jewish Book World

"Kacer writes of a Jewish community determined to retain its identity and survive in the face of adversity. Young readers will share Lily's happiness as she celebrates Passover in the Ohel Moshe Synagogue and her joy when the war ends and her family leaves Shanghai for Toronto, 'their tough and long struggle finally over.' " - Hadassah Magazine